Review of the Year - 2017

Review of the Year – 2017

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


It’s that time again, another year comes to an end and a new one is about to begin. We take a look back on this the last day of 2017 to review the events of the year, hopefully remind you of some good things in the year as well as mark some major news events that have occurred.

As always at the stroke of midnight the London Eye became the centre point of the UK’s celebrations of the start of 2017 following in the footsteps of Sydney Opera House, Marina Bay and L’Arc de Triomphe who had celebrated the arrival of 2017 in the hours before the UK did, just as New York’s Times Square will in the hours ahead. As always, the crowds stared in awe and wonder of the fireworks and, in that moment, took stock of the previous year and all they had to look forward to in the coming year.

As the year began, it began with trepidation, what with the way that the previous year had gone with a famous faces being taken from the Earth what seemed like every other day.

January  

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that
I will faithfully execute the Office of
President of the United States,
and will to the best of my Ability,
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

US Presidential Oath of Office

In the music charts the year started in exactly the same way as it had ended, with Clean Bandit taking the number 1 spot for the first 2 weeks of the year. Not only that but the Christmas music ceased to be played for yet another year, particularly in the shops, who replaced the Christmas music with the Easter eggs and chocolates. Admittedly on our part, this had happened on Boxing Day last year as has become a tradition in recent years!

The first big household name of the year was taken from the world on the 12th, this man was Men’s England Football Manager from 1990 to 1993, even being referred to by one national newspaper as the turnip. Of course, the man to whom I refer is Graham Taylor. Graham died at the grand age of 72 and is sadly missed by the Football Community. He led England to the quarter finals of the 1992 European Championships and failed to qualify for the World Cup in the USA in 1994. Graham did however have a varied career as a club manager leading several teams through the football season; he is the only manager to have amassed over 70 points in a season twice under the old point scoring system, where a win was worth just 2 points.

On the 20th the world’s attention returned to the United States of America to witness the swearing in of the 45th President, Donald J Trump, led by Chief Justice of The United States of America, John Roberts. It is estimated that 300,000 to 600,000 people turned out to witness the event at the West Front of the US Capitol Hill Building. This was the 58th time that a President had been sworn into Office, at noon, when his time in office officially commences. Donald J Trump is the first US President who has no prior military experience nor governmental service experience, he is however the wealthiest and oldest person to hold the position, President of the United States of America. In the preceding moments of Trump’s inauguration, his Vice-President Mike Pence was officially sworn into his position.

The story of the inauguration, or the controversy of, does not end on inauguration day. The following day, 21st January 2017, saw The Women’s March, which was a worldwide protest to advocate legislation and policies aimed at human rights and other issues, including LGBT and women’s rights. The Marches in the USA were aimed directly at Trump due to the positions and stances that he had taken on the presidential election trail, which were seen as being very anti-women and otherwise offensive. Prior to his inauguration there was a view that Trump was going to be divisive, time will tell if this is how his Presidency is remembered.

The month ended with the sad news of the deaths of 2 household actors.

Firstly, on the 23rd Gordon Kaye of ‘Allo ‘Allo fame passed away at the age of 75. He will long be remembered as René Artois in what is a classic sitcom, ‘Allo ‘Allo, the series, is replayed on the many different channels. We thought that we would mark Gordon Kaye’s passing with a link to a clip of him in action:

The second actor to die in this month was Sir John Hurt CBE who was 77, his career spanned some 50 years, covering television, film, stage and voice-over artistry. He is probably most famous for his role in his later career as Mr Ollivander in Harry Potter. Sir John was knighted in the 2015 New Year’s Honours and attended his investiture ceremony on July 17th 2015 at Windsor Castle, where he collected the title from the Queen.

February

And the winner is….

February started in the UK with Parliament voting in favour of the European Union Bill which allowed the Government to start the process of Brexit, following last year’s vote on exiting the European Union on June 23rd in which 51.89% of the people who voted, decided to leave the EU. This decision by Parliament was the catalyst that put other moves through the year into motion, we will refer back to the 1st February later in this review of the year.

On the 5th of February, the band Black Sabbath led by Ozzy Osbourne played their last ever concert in their home city, Birmingham. According to a 2013 poll by Rolling Stone magazine the greatest Black Sabbath song of all time is ‘Warpigs’. Aside from the band, Ozzy Osbourne is famous for his activities outside of the band, for instance his appearance in years gone by on the documentary, The Osbournes.

One of the household names to die this month was socialite, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, or TPT as she was known. Most famously, Tara finished second in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2002, before presenting the companion show, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now!

On the 11th North Korea test fired a ballistic missile across the Sea of Japan, prompting world-wide condemnation of the act. The view from the world’s media, was that it wouldn’t be too long before the North Koreans could hit the US mainland with a ballistic missile. A statement which sends shivers down the spine and thoughts turning towards another war.

Over the night of the 26th February, the Oscars took place in Hollywood. During the ceremony Best Actress went to Emma Stone with Best Actor going to Casey Affleck. For a period of 2 and a half minutes the Best Picture Award was in the wrong hands having been wrongly announced as ‘La La Land’ when actually the correct winner was ‘Moonlight’. Shock ensued around the arena.

March

Dr. Laura Hobson, pathologist: [Meeting Morse for the first time]
Do you know where I might find a Detective Chief Inspector… looks like “Mouse”?
Chief Inspector Morse: Morse. Detective Chief Inspector Morse.’

Colin Dexter ‘Inspector Morse’ 1995

March started off as a quiet month, the calmness was broken by ITV’s This Morning launching their Be Kind campaign. The Be Kind campaign started aims to rid bullying from children’s lives, having earlier on in the year held interviews with parents of children who had killed themselves having suffered from bullying. On the 9th, they launched their Be Kind pledge, encouraging teachers and parents across the country to pledge to show the powerful interviews to their children or in school assemblies to try to stop bullying.

The 10th saw the death of John Surtees CBE, at the age of 83. John Surtees CBE is the only man to have won both World Championships on 2 and 4 wheels. He was a 4-time 500cc Motorcycle World champion in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 and Formula 1 World Champion in 1964. He was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire(MBE) in 1959, then further recognised with an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 2008 and again in 2016 when he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to motorsport. There is some indignation to the fact that he was never awarded a knighthood.

On the 18th Chuck Berry departed this Earth, at the age of 90 years old. Chuck Berry was famous as an American singer, songwriter, musician and one of the pioneers of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He will probably be most fondly remembered for songs like Johnny B. Goode, as well as being remembered for refining and developing Rhythm and Blues into the major elements that made Rock ‘n’ Roll so distinctive.

And, March hadn’t finished taking household names off this Earth, as on the 21st two people died. Firstly, politician Martin McGuinness passed away at the age of 66. Martin McGuinness was Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland for 10 years from 2007 until earlier this year. He was a member of the Sinn Fein Party, and like his fellow party members practised Westminster absenteeism, meaning not taking up their elected seat in the Houses of Parliament. Martin was an Irish Republican and had been a Provisional Irish Republican Army Leader. His legacy however has to go to his part in the Good Friday Agreement which formally cemented the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Also taken on the 21st was Author Colin Dexter OBE. He was most commonly known as the author of the Inspector Morse novels between 1975 and 1999. His work has been popularly dramatised into an ITV drama series, which has since spawned the spin-off series, Lewis and Endeavour. Just as Alfred Hitchcock did in his career, Colin Dexter made a cameo appearance in most of the Inspector Morse episodes. He was awarded his OBE in 2000 and this was followed the year after with the freedom of Oxford, where he based Inspector Morse. Colin Dexter OBE died at the age of 86 years old.

On the 22nd March 2017, 5 people tragically lost their lives in a terrorist attack that took place at the Palace of Westminster. At approximately 14:40 a grey Hyundai Tucson was driven down the pavement of the southern side of Westminster Bridge at up to speeds of 76mph, causing many injuries and several deaths. The second stage of this attack occurred once the terrorist had crashed the car into the perimeter wall of the Houses of Parliament, before running through the open Carriage Gates, where PC Keith Palmer was stabbed to death by the terrorist before being shot. The whole attack lasted 82 seconds. We have written a more in-depth blog on recent terror attacks which you can view here. We have also got a dedicated page of our website where we remember all the victims, however not naming the terrorist in each attack, which you can view here.

Nine months after the Brexit vote, and following on from Parliament’s agreement on February the 1st, the UK triggered a piece of European law known as Article 50.

What is Article 50?

Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any of the current 28 EU States the right to quit unilaterally. Article 50 provides the process to be followed, giving the leaving state a period of 2 years to negotiate their exit with the remaining 27-member states. Once the Article 50 process commences, it cannot be stopped without express unanimous consent from the remaining member states. No member of the EU has left before; the UK will become the first member state to do so. The Treaty of Lisbon came into law in 2009, and prior to this there was no way of a member state leaving the European Union. With the evocation of Article 50 with a letter sent by Prime Minister Theresa May, the United Kingdom will leave the EU on March 29th 2019.

April

If you want your children to be
Intelligent
Read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be
More intelligent
Read them more fairy tales.

Albert Einstein

April started with an updated Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for our Early Years customers. Although there were only a few minor changes in the document, it clarifies which provisions are mandatory indicated by the word must and provisions where providers should have regard for other provisions, which are indicated by should. There were 2 minor changes to the Learning and Development section of the document both amending the footnotes. The major changes come in the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements. It added in the Prevent Strategy which was published since the 2014 framework. It also tightens up the First Aid training requirements of all staff new to the sector, as well as tightening up the provisions of prescription medication, only to be administered if prescribed by a doctor, dentist, nurse or pharmacist. The EYFS came into effect on April 3rd.

On the 7th, Tim Piggott-Smith OBE passed away at the age of 70 years old. He was best known as a British film and television actor as well as an author. He is probably best known for his role of Ronald Merrick in the drama series The Jewel in the crown, a role that won him 4 BAFTA awards in 1985. He has also starred in many films including Johnny English, and V is for Vendetta. He wrote Out of India, while he was filming The Jewel in the Crown; the book is his interpretations of India in diary form along with an anthology of prose and poetry. He also wrote 2 children’s books in the series The Baker Street Mysteries which featured the exploits of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars entitled, The Dragon Tattoo and Shadow of Evil.

Also taken in April was Ugo Ehiogu an English footballer playing in centre back; he died at the age of 44 years old. Ugo played in the English Premier League from 1989 until 2009, and was Tottenham Hotspur Under-23 coach from 2014 until his untimely death from a cardiac arrest. He played for teams such as Rangers and Aston Villa although I believe he will be most remembered for his time at Middlesbrough. In his international days, Ugo was the first black player to captain an England side in a competitive game, albeit in an Under-21s game.

May

So one last time
I need to be the one who takes you home
One more time
I promise after that, I’ll let you go
Baby I don’t care if you got her in your heart
All I really care is you wake up in my arms
One last time
I need to be the one who takes you home

Ariana Grande

On May the 4th, Buckingham Palace announced that at the end of the summer Prince Philip would be retiring from public life. We will reflect on his public career in the month of his retirement.

During the afternoon of the 9th we were saddened to hear of an accident that had happened at Drayton Manor Park. It was later revealed that 11-year-old Evha Janneth had died having fallen into the water on one of the rides. The post-mortem identifies that she tragically died from chest injuries. Sadly, her death came 4 days after her 11th birthday whilst on a trip with her school.

The 9th also delivered more sad news at the loss of Robert Miles, a Swiss born Italian record producer, composer, musician and DJ, he is most famous for the 1990s hit Children. Robert Miles, or more accurately to his birth name Roberto Concina died at the age of just 47 years.

May the 12th saw a large-scale ransomware attack which affected 150 countries; it is commonly known as WannaCry. The ransomware attacked computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments in the Bitcoin Cryptocurrency. Although Microsoft had released patches prior to the attack, they were either not installed on the computers or the companies affected were running old systems, sometimes referred to as end of life. In the UK the attack affected companies such as the NHS, Nissan and Honda. Within a few days of the attack it was stopped, as Microsoft released emergency patches and a kill switch was discovered.

Terror once again raised its ugly head on the 22nd. At a little after half past 10, at the end of a concert by Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device, packed full of nuts and bolts to act as shrapnel which got embedded into the bodies of the innocent victims. 22 innocent people were killed in the blast including the youngest, Saffie Rose Roussos aged just 8 years old, along with 250 injured people. Over the coming days the city of Manchester and the UK as a whole came together as one to stand against terrorism. As we referred to earlier we have a dedicated page on our website and blog around this subject. We will also come back to this terror attack shortly.

The month ended with the sad news of the death of Sir Roger Moore CBEKBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Order) on the 23rd. Sir Roger Moore is most famous for playing the MI6 spy James Bond, I bet you now have the Bond theme tune going round in your head! Sir Roger Moore played the spy in 7 movies:

  • Live and Let Die (1973)
  • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  • Moonraker (1979)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  • Octopussy (1983)
  • A View to a Kill (1985).

During his own National Service Sir Roger made it all the way up to rank of Captain, commanding a small depot in West Germany, and later looked after entertainers for the armed services passing through Hamburg.

June

Please look after this bear,
Thank you

Michael Bond

On the 1st of June, President Donald J Trump announced that he had pulled the USA out of the Paris Climate Agreement, something that the UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May committed the UK to. The Paris Climate Agreement is an agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which deals with greenhouse gas mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in 2020. The earliest that the USA can withdraw is November 2020. The requirement of the Agreement is for countries to determine, plan and report its own contribution to mitigate global warming; there is however no mechanism to force countries to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should be greater than their previous target.

June the 2nd saw the death of Peter Sallis OBE at the age of 96. Peter Sallis was awarded his OBE in the 2007 birthday honours’ list. He went onto Desert Island Discs and selected his favourite as Sibelius’ Symphony number 5 in E-Flat Major. Peter Sallis OBE, in honesty, will be remembered best for his 2 most famous roles. His first most successful role began in 1973 when he took on the role of Norman ‘Cleggy’ Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine, which he played right up until the final episode in 2010. This span makes Peter Sallis the only actor to appear in all 295 episodes. His other role that he will be remembered for is as the voice of Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit films.

June certainly was a particularly busy month, as the 3rd of June saw the return again of terror to the streets of the UK for 8 long minutes. This attack took place around London Bridge in London. At 10:05pm a white van was driven down London Bridge’s South pavement killing 3 and injuring many. Once the van crashed, the attack continued on foot into Borough Market where members of the public tried to defend themselves by throwing crates, bottles, chairs and other projectiles at the attackers to try to ward them off, however the terrorists still managed to stab and kill 5 people whilst injuring many more. On arrival the police shot the 3 attackers dead and identified that they were wearing fake suicide vests. As we have already discussed our dedicated page in memory of terror attacks and victims and our blog can be accessed on our website.

In the aftermath of the London Bridge attack, the very next day was due to be a concert held in Manchester, hosted by Ariana Grande following the terror attack at her concert a few weeks previous. Due to the attack in London there was some discussion in the media as to whether or not the concert would go ahead, and go ahead it did. Ariana Grande organised, headlined and arranged the whole thing. The concert was held at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground on the 4th of June, it was broadcast live across the world. Ariana had offered free tickets to everyone who had tickets to the affected concert at the Manchester Arena and all other tickets were charged at £40.00 per ticket which sold out in 6 minutes. Stars who performed at the concert gave their time for free and the proceeds of the concert went to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. We thank Ariana Grande for organising the concert and visiting the victims in the hospital.

On the 5th of June, more sad news reached us with the very untimely death of footballer Cheick Tioté at the age of just 30. The Ivorian Defensive Midfielder represented his country at 2 FIFA World Cups and 4 CAF African Cup of Nations, winning the 2015 tournament. In total he played a total of 52 times for his country. He also played his club football in the Premier League notably at Newcastle United who he represented 156 times over 6 and a half seasons.

June the 8th saw a General Election, as we were told in 2016 would not happen. In the run up to the General Election we explored and examined the key areas of the political parties’ manifestos. The outcome of the election was not as strong and decisive as most of the commentators thought that it would be. In fact it turned out that the Conservatives would ‘win’ Downing Street but only with a minority Government. Over the next few days a deal was done with the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland). Seats won by each of the parties for Westminster are as follows:

Conservatives 318
Labour 262
Scottish Nationalist Party 35
Liberal Democrats 12
Democratic Unionists Party 10
Sinn Fein 7
Plaid Cymru 4
Green Party 1
Independent 1

We then have the good news story of the summer which started a golden spell for England football teams. On June the 11th the Under-20s Football Team won the FIFA Under-20s World Cup. This was the first World Cup that England had won since 1966, therefore ending 51 years of hurt, even if they are 2 different World Cups, as the 1966 win was by the Senior Men’s Team.

Sadly though, the good times didn’t last too long. On the evening of the 14th of June, a fire broke out in the Grenfell Tower block of flats, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The fire caused 71 deaths including 1 stillbirth; from 23 of the 129 flats, 223 people escaped the blaze with 70 of them injured. Emergency Services first had the call at approximately 00:54, the blaze burned for some 60 hours. It took more than 250 London Fire Brigade firefighters and 70 fire engines along with over 100 London Ambulance Service crews, in about 20 ambulances, the Hazardous Area Response Team, London Metropolitan Police Service and the London Air Ambulance. On June the 21st a charity single was released under the artist title, Artists for Grenfell. It sold 120,000 in the first day of sales, the most for any track in the 2010s. It is believed that the fire was caused by a faulty refrigerator, but the spread of the fire is believed to be the external cladding attached to the façade of the building.

On the 19th of the month, another lone terrorist struck again, unusually however this person is now in police custody and is due to stand trial in January 2018. By driving a van into pedestrians outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, 8 people were killed and a man who had earlier dropped to the floor and was receiving First Aid died. The motive for this attack at the time of writing is still being investigated.

On the 21st the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul was destroyed amidst the battle of Mosul, between Iraqi Government forces allied with the Kurdistan Regional Government, and international forces and Islamic State (IS.) The battle was for the allied forces to retake the city of Mosul from IS. The Iraqi forces have attributed the destruction of the Great Mosque to IS in a bid to prevent it from being taken back from them with the city. The Grand Mosque was destroyed along with its leaning Minaret. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared the destruction as a declaration of defeat by ISIS/IS.

The last notable event in an action-packed month of June was the sad news of the death of Michael Bond CBE, at the age of 91. Michael was awarded his CBE in the 2015 Birthday Honours’ List having already been awarded the OBE in the 1997 Birthday Honours’ list in recognition for his services to Children’s Literature. If you were still working out who he was there was the clue, of course Michael Bond is the author of the Paddington Bear Books. Paddington Bear appears in 28 books written by Michael Bond, including one to be published next year. The man behind the bear from deepest darkest Peru, lived not that far away from Paddington Train Station, where the bear gets his name from. Sadly, next year will be the Bear’s 60th anniversary, and Michael Bond isn’t around to see his creation hit that milestone.

July

I saw that the look in your eyes was calling me
Show me the path that I will take (Oh)
You, you’re the magnet and I’m the metal
I am getting closer and making a plan
Simply thinking about it makes my heart race (Oh yeah)

Despacito

There was some green news that came through in this month on the 5th when car making giant Volvo announced that they would make all their models either hybrid or electrical by 2019. This was the first time an automotive company made such a bold statement, ending the reliance on petrol and diesel. This was followed by an announcement by France that by 2040 they would ban all petrol and diesel cars.

July the 9th saw the city of Mosul in Iraq be declared as totally liberated from Islamic State, just 19 days after the destruction of the Great Mosque of Al Nuri.

NASA’s spacecraft Juno made its closest pass to Jupiter’s great red spot at just 9,000 km overhead. Juno is a space probe whose mission is to orbit Jupiter; the mission began on 5th August 2011 when it launched from Cape Canaveral with a mission due to last 7 years.

July the 15th marked a potential new era in women’s tennis as the 124th Women’s Wimbledon title went to Garbine Muguruza, who beat Venus Williams 7-5, 6-0.

How do you follow the Women’s Wimbledon winner? Well, if you are the BBC, you follow it on the 16th by announcing the name of the next Doctor Who and for the first time in its history, the role will be played by a woman, Jodie Whittaker; this will be the 13th incarnation of the Timelord since its television debut in 1963.

While we are discussing popular culture, on the 19th of July 2017 Despacito by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee became the most streamed song of all time.

Now, let’s turn our attention to sporting achievements for British athletes during the month of July. 2 major events happened on the 23rd. Firstly, England’s Women’s Cricket Team beat India by 9 runs in the final of the World Cup held at Lords Cricket Ground, London, winning the Women’s World Cup. Congratulations to them on this achievement. The second achievement for a Brit on the 23rd was the win of Le Tour de France for a 4th time by Chris Froome.

July however, will be remembered in the sporting world this year for the excellent World Para Athletics Championships. The tournament was held at the Olympic Stadium and ran from the 14th to the 23rd. Again, the capital and the people of Great Britain came out and proved themselves to be athletics’ fans, making this championship one of the most successful ever. Team GB and NI ended in third in the table having won 13 Gold, 8 Silver and 13 Bronze medals, a total of 39. Our most successful athletes were Hannah Cockcroft and Samantha (Sammy) Kinghorn. Hannah won 3 golds in 3 different distances in the T34 class: 100m, 400m and 800m. Sammy won 2 golds and a bronze in the T53 class: 100m, 200m and 400m respectively. We absolutely congratulate all the Para athletes who represented Team GB and NI.

August

It was nice to see him,
To see him……
NICE!

Sir Bruce Forsyth

As we mentioned back in May, Prince Philip retired from public life this year and the date of this event was the 2nd August. He has retired at the age of 96, having faithfully been there supporting the Queen on her royal engagements, and fulfilling his own engagements since 1952. During his active service, Prince Philip had attended 22,219 different engagements. His final engagement was meeting the Royal Marines. Over the years Prince Philip has courted controversy with some of his comments that he has made on his engagements, in honesty though it just shows that he has a human side, which is often forgotten as he is a member of the Royal Family. During his active working life, Prince Philip has been patron to nearly 800 organisations, who have all received his time and energy; gradually over time these patronages will be passed on to other members of the Royal Family. Prince Philip holds many titles, honours and arms; his most prominent role was, and is, as Consort to Her Majesty The Queen. His official title is His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh or His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh. We thank His Royal Highness for his service and wish him a very happy retirement, looking forward to seeing him on the few public appearances that he will make alongside his wife and Queen, Elizabeth II. We will yet return to this happy love story later in the year review.

On the 3rd of this month, we officially celebrated our second birthday. This is a milestone that any small business looks forward to meeting, and we are looking forward to many more birthdays meeting our customers’ training needs using our FIRST Principles and having that sense of humour on the courses as we go.

August is predominately a month which is dominated by sport and, again, this year was no different. Great British sportsmen and women had a mixed month. We start with England’s Women’s Football Team who were having a good end of July in the Women’s European Championships, sadly on the 3rd August they came up against the hosts and eventual winners of the tournament, the Netherlands, getting knocked out in a 3-0 defeat at the semi-final stage. On the whole, it was a good tournament for the lionesses and we wish them further success in the upcoming World Cup 2019 and the qualifiers for this tournament.

Continuing with sport we turn our attention to the World Athletics Championships that were held at the Olympic Stadium, looking to replicate the success of last month’s Para Athletics championships. Saturday the 4th saw Mohammed (Mo) Farah take to the track looking to continue a wonderful gold winning run in the 10,000 m. This is an event where, since 2012, in major tournaments nobody has been able to beat Mo Farah, and again at the end of his race, Mo Farah was collecting another Gold to add to his collection. This is added to his Olympic golds from London (2012) and Rio (2016) and his World Titles in Moscow (2013) and Beijing (2015).

We move away from sport temporarily and note that the 8th of August gave us the news of the death of Glenn Campbell at the age of 81. Glenn Campbell will always be remembered for his huge hit ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ from 1975. Although he has had many other hits in the UK this is the one song that embodies most people’s memories of Glenn Campbell.

Back to the Olympic Stadium we go, and again the attention on the 12th goes back to Mohammed (Mo) Farah as he once again took to the track to run in the 5,000m, again a discipline that he has held at World and Olympic level for 6 years. The race seemed to be going to plan, but sadly in his last World Championship race, he could only finish 2nd and collect the silver medal to add to his Olympic golds from London (2012) and Rio (2016) as well as his World Titles from Daegu (2011), Moscow (2013), and Beijing (2015). An illustrious long-distance career came to an end as he now heads off to try his hand at the marathon.

Team GB and NI did however pick up 2 additional medals on this evening, a silver for the women in the 4x100m, who then stood in the interview area of the stadium to watch their male counterparts go and win gold in their version of the event. There was a tinge of sadness in this race even though gold came home, in that the Jamaican challenge ended early as the short distance running legend, Usain Bolt pulled up with what looked a hamstring injury, which ended his career on a low note. But looking back over his career Usain Bolt has quite a record at Olympic and World Championship level. Although, the Jamaicans’ had a bad result, it has to be said that the GB quartet were ahead of the field, by a whisker, heading into the home straight.

Having recovered from the action of the night before, again sat in front of the television screen we were to see how the men in the 4x400m relay could get on, and the answer was silver. A great return from the World Athletics Championship, the whole team ended in 6th place in the table, amassing a total of 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze a total of 6 medals equalling the target the performance at UK Athletics had set the team. Attention turns now to the Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast next year.

Hero the Hedgehog, The World Athletics Championship mascot

Throughout the World Athletics Championships which were held between the 4th and 13th, there is one ‘man’ who stands out for a special mention in our review. That one ‘man’ goes by the name of ‘Hero the Hedgehog’ the official mascot of the Championships. Hero was designed by a 9-year-old called Ellie who lives in the West Midlands, when she entered a competition on Blue Peter. So entertaining was Hero that we honour him in our review of the year with an image and a link to some of his highlights:

Alas, the sporting achievements to one side, we again lost a true legend and entertainment great in the form of Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE. Sir Bruce died at the grand age of 89 having had a spell of illness last year and the worry that the curse of 2016 was going to strike him down, that luckily didn’t happen. Sir Bruce had an illustrious career in entertainment for 7 decades. He is famous for his catchphrases, as well as his gameshows such as The Generation Game, Brucie’s Price is Right and Play Your Cards Right. His last television show was as part of the presenting duet on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. He was awarded his OBE in 1998 and then his CBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours’ list. It was announced that he was to become Sir Bruce in the 2011 Birthday Honours’ list and his investiture was carried out by Her Majesty the Queen on the 12th October 2011.

Sir Bruce Forsyth will be missed by television viewers far and wide.

To end the month, we look towards the skies of our close friends, the United States of America. The 21st August saw a total solar eclipse visible within a band across the contiguous United States (48 adjoining states plus Washington DC), the first total solar eclipse since June the 8th 1918. Totality affected 14 states directly covering about 16% of the area of the United States. This was the first eclipse in America in the smartphone and social media era and therefore access to photographs and videos were easier to lay hands on, and needless to say the obligatory marriage proposals under the totality were many. It is thought that one wedding was planned to actually take place under the conditions of totality. The next solar eclipse is predicted to affect just 10 states in April 2024.

September

Olympian flame immortal
Whose beacon lights our way
Emblaze our hearts with the fires of hope
On this momentous day

International Olympic Committee’s Anthem

In comparison to recent months, September had a quiet month with very few noteworthy events. On the 13th the International Olympic Committee announced the host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games. The cities awarded the games were Paris and Los Angeles respectively. This will be the 3rd time that Paris has hosted the games, the first time since 1924, as it will also be Los Angeles’ third occasion and their first time since 1984. Both of these host cities will now be tied with London with the number of times that they have hosted the prestigious games, we look forward to their games after the Tokyo games in 2020.

At around 8:20am on the morning of the 15th an explosion occurred on the District Line of London’s Underground line at Parsons Green. This explosion injured 30 people going about their day commuting to work and school, the explosion came from a botched crude bucket bomb with a timer containing Triacetone Triperoxide(TATP,) which is an explosive chemical. The Metropolitan Police treated the incident as a terror attack, with the Press Association reporting it has being linked to attacks by Islamic Extremists. The main suspect was arrested the following day at the departures lounge at the Port of Dover, the Police then subsequently raided several houses in Sunbury on Thames, where the attacker is said to have lived. As with all of our discussions around the terror attacks in our country we have again decided not to name the attacker nor any of his accomplices. Amaq News Agency reported that a unit of IS had claimed responsibility for this attack, however, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in a statement on the 17th that there was no evidence to back this up, but added that the intelligence services and police would identify if and how the attacker was radicalised. 7 men have been arrested in connection with this attack, with 6 of them being released without charge.

September has 2 notable household names’ deaths to report, the first occurred on the 21st namely William G Stewart who is probably best known as being the host of the quiz show 15 to 1. However, William was not just an in front of the camera personality in the fact that he was also a producer, and director. He produced the gameshow that he hosted. He courted criticism, along with Channel 4 in 2001, when he was left with just a few contestants making it through round 1 and so to fill time he then gave a lengthy presentation on returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece, a subject that he was passionate about. The marbles in question are currently owned by the British Museum.

The second household name to have demised in this month is the businessman, magazine publisher and playboy, Hugh Hefner who died at the age of 91 on the 27th. Most famously Hugh Hefner is known for his publication Playboy as well as his Playboy Mansion and the Playboy Bunnies.

October

The barnacle is found in salty seas,
Clinging to rocks in crusty colonies;
And salt, which chemists call NaCl,
Is found inside the barnacle as well.

Richard Wilbur

October began with a mass shooting in the USA. The attack took place on the 1st and the attacked venue was the Route 91 Music Festival which was taking place in Las Vegas. The gunman had booked a hotel suite in the Mandalay Bay Hotel which overlooked the festival, he was in a suite on the 32nd floor of the 43-storey hotel. Between 22:05 and 22:15 local time the gunman opened fire onto the festival and killed 58 people leaving 546 people injured, in a firing rampage of 1,100 shots into the crowd. An hour after the final shot the gunman was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound by the police, his motive is unknown. This incident has the unwanted record in the United States as the deadliest mass shooting committed by one single gunman. It has also served to reignite the long-running discussions the Americans have about their gun laws, as well as starting the debate on bump fire stocks. Bump fire stocks are devices which allow semi-automatic weapons to mimic the firing speed of automatic weapons, firing some weapons between 400 and 800 rounds per minute. It is believed that this was not the original target of the gunman as he is believed to have booked a hotel room overlooking an earlier festival, namely the August music festival Lollapalooza, as well as staying in the Las Vegas area between September 22nd and 24th staying in a hotel overlooking yet another music festival, Life is Beautiful. Could one of these festivals have been the original target for this gunman?

The 8th of October saw the launch of ITV’s Be kind parent/teacher support pack. The support pack has been designed to help parents and teachers to spread the word of the campaign, and has been designed with the Diana Award Anti Bullying Campaign. The pack itself contains a variety of resources and activities that can be used in primary and secondary schools, including posters, activity ideas, and advice sheets to help raise students’ awareness of the Be Kind campaign. We are fully behind the Be Kind campaign and you can download the support pack by clicking here.

As we have referred to on many occasions throughout this review of this year, it has been a good year for the England football set-up, and the 8th was no different as the senior men’s side confirmed their appearance at the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia, next summer. England confirmed their attendance with a 1 nil win over Lithuania. As the games kicked off there was a chance that Scotland could follow England into the World Cup by claiming a play-off spot, sadly this did not happen, by the end of the play-off rounds, England is the last home nation standing in qualification for the World Cup. We wish the England Team all the best at the World Cup in the summer.

The twice winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry (1957 and 1989) literary translator and poet, Richard Wilbur died on the 14th at the age of 96. He was known as one of the foremost poets of his generation, composing work mostly in a traditional form, whilst being marked in wit, gentlemanly elegance and charm. In 1987 he was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Some of his famous works include the translation of the play ‘Tartuffe’ which has become the standard English version of the play, which has been presented on the television twice, with the 1978 version available on DVD. His other work includes a series of prose entitled Responses: Prose Pieces (1953-1976) and an anthology of poetry for example, Things of This World.

On the 16th, again this year, First Aid trainers up and down the country taught school children how to restart a heart with lifesaving Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation training. Although this year we weren’t able to take part due to other training commitments we are looking forward to working with schoolchildren on Restart a Heart Day in 2018 to teach life-saving skills. During this year’s Restart a heart Day which is a European wide initiative, 195,000 children in the UK were trained, which is up from the 116,734 in 2016. We are hopeful that we can add to this number in 2018. In the meantime, don’t forget that we run courses for schoolchildren with exact course details being added to our website early in the new year, keep your eyes peeled.

Following an independence referendum on the 1st , the Catalonian Parliament declared the region of Catalonia as independent from Spain on the 27th. However, 53 opposition MPs refused to be present at the vote, after the legal services of the Catalan Parliament advised that the voting could not take place as the law which it had been based on had been suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court. A few hours later, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dismissed the Catalan Parliament and called for fresh elections to be held on the 21st December.

And now for 2 happy tales of sporting achievement for our British sportsmen, and what a weekend the 28th and 29th was. Firstly, we look at the Saturday where we saw the England Under-17s take to the football pitch in Kolkata, India in the World Cup. Following on from the success of the Under-20s winning their World Cup, optimism was high. Steve Cooper had selected the 11 players that he believed could bring the cup home. Well, what can we say, 10 minutes in and the Spanish score with a goal from Sergio Gomez. This was the worst possible start for the England lads. And with just twenty-one minutes gone, the Spanish had scored again, through the same player, collecting his brace of goals. The hearts and heads of the England fans dropped, how was the team going to recover from being 2-0 down? Thankfully with one minute to go to the half-time whistle Rhian Brewster netted the ball to make it 2-1, with no more goals before half-time.

Steve Cooper before the Brewster goal would have been thinking, what on Earth am I going to say to the lads to turn the game around? The goal made his half-time talk a little easier. What I haven’t told you already is that the boys had already beaten big hitters in the footballing world including, Brazil and the USA.

Into the second half we went, 2-1 down. 13 minutes into the second half, 58 minutes on the clock, Gibbs White netted the ball for England tying the game at 2-2. The game was now on with England in the ascendency. 2 goals from Foden in the 69th and 88th minute and one from Guéhi secured an amazing 5-2 victory for England. The second English football team to win a World Cup in 2017, with attention now turning to the men’s team as they go to the World cup in Russia in 2018.

We now turn our attention to motorsport and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, the scene of the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton knew with 2 races to go should he outscore his nearest championship rival, Sebastian Vettel, by ten points he would be World Champion for a fourth time. After a first lap incident where Lewis and Sebastian touched, the race was on. Lewis finished the race in ninth place collecting 2 points. Vettel managed to come back from the first lap incident to finish in 4th collecting twelve points, which meant that mathematically, Lewis Hamilton could not be caught, and therefore was effectively World Champion for 2017 and a 4th time, becoming the most successful Brit in Formula 1 and 1 more time than his racing hero, the late, great Ayrton Senna.

November

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, In Remembrance

Picking up on a theme that has run through this year’s review, we return again to ITV’s This Morning’s Be Kind campaign as on the evening of the 8th famous monuments including Gateshead Millennium Bridge, London Eye, Blackpool Tower lit up in the colours of the campaign. This coincided with the launch of the Be Kind wristbands which were available in Smiggle stores for free. There was only a supply of 150,000 and sadly we were unable to lay our hands on one, however, if you were lucky enough to, don’t forget that This Morning would love to see you wearing yours using the hashtag #BeKind. Tag us into your pictures in Twitter using @TrainingFoxEyHS or on Facebook TheTrainingFox, we would love to see your pictures.

As always in November, our thoughts and attention turn to the memory of all those men, women and children who have served our great nation in the many wars over the years, and this the 100th anniversary of the start of the last year of The Great War World War I.

The 11th day of the month fell on a Saturday, and the minute’s silence fell within our scheduled coffee break on a course, which is great timing to allow us to remember. We of course then joined the nation in remembrance on the Sunday by following the pictures from the Cenotaph in London where Prince Charles laid a wreath on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, as she watched the events from a balcony in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office standing beside her husband Prince Philip. Her Majesty was seen wiping a tear away as she remembered all the service personnel. Up until last year, Her Majesty would lead the tributes by laying her wreath first, the role that Prince Charles took on this year before then laying his wreat. The Queen has led the tributes every year of her reign other than on 6 other separate occasions:

1959 Laid by Duke of Edinburgh as The Queen was heavily pregnant with Prince Andrew.

1961 Laid by another member of the Royal Family, The Queen was on a Royal visit to Ghana.

1963 Laid by Duke of Edinburgh as The Queen was heavily pregnant with Prince Edward.

1968 Laid by another member of the Royal Family, The Queen was on a Royal visit to Brazil.

1983 Laid by Prince Charles, The Queen was on a Royal visit to Kenya.

1999 Laid by Prince Charles, The Queen was on a Royal visit to South Africa.

Buckingham Palace source said, ‘Her Majesty The Queen, wishes to be at the side of her husband this Remembrance Day’. It was the first service at the Cenotaph that the Queen watched from the balcony with other members of the family including the Duchess of Cambridge, and didn’t take an active part in.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon

Lest we forget

Words by Rudyard kipling

We now turn our attention to Zimbabwe, for the 15th saw the President Robert Mugabe placed under house arrest by Zimbabwe’s National Army, as part of action against ‘criminals’ in Mugabe’s circle. This action appears to have been in response to moves that Robert Mugabe had made on the 6th of this month, when he sacked his First Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, fuelling speculation that he intended to promote to this position his wife Grace Mugabe. The 19th of the month saw him sacked by his own political party, Zanu-PF, and replaced by the man he had sacked earlier in the month, Mnangagwa. The party gave Mugabe an ultimatum which was, resign by noon tomorrow or impeachment action would take place. That night Mugabe on national television stated that he refused to resign. On the 21st, Zanu-PF deputies introduced an impeachment resolution against him which was seconded by MDC-T. With all the constituent parts of the Government in agreement it looked likely that his impeachment was guaranteed without needing the two-thirds majority of the House of Assembly and Senate in a joint sitting. As per the constitution the 2 houses met. Hours into the debate the speaker of the assembly read a letter from Mugabe which announced his resignation with immediate effect. He has managed to negotiate a deal whereby he and his kin are exempt from prosecution, his business interests continue and he will walk away with somewhere in the region of $10,000,000!

With all of that excitement happening in Zimbabwe, our attention in the UK turned to children who are in need, as the 18th saw the BBC’s annual telethon take place. This was the second BBC Children in Need without the much loved and face of the show, Sir Terry Wogan, however his presence somehow was still felt. Of course, the video appeals in the show were as always hard hitting to watch and often you have to wonder how we manage to sit through them without becoming super depressed that these situations are happening in our country. As it has been for many years previously, many famous faces and television shows gave their time for free to entertain the viewing public in an effort to raise money for the good causes the charity supports. Alongside the main appeal show, many other shows across the BBC held events to help bolster the grand total in the week leading up to appeal night, regardless of whether they were on TV or radio. At the end of the evening the final total for the night was announced, the result was better than any previous year and would have made Sir Terry Wogan very proud at the total of £50,168,562.

Sadly, 3 household names died in November just a few days apart, these are Keith Barron on the 15th, Jana Novotná on the 19th and David Cassidy on the 21st. Keith Barron died at the age of 83 years old, he has starred in many TV programmes including most notably, Upstairs Downstairs as the character Gregory Wilmot, he has also starred in Doctors, Benidorm, Clocking Off, and Midsummer Murders. Keith’s last appearance on the television will be in the Christmas episode of Not Going Out where he will play the role of a toy shop assistant.

Jana Novotná the Czech tennis player died at the age of 49. Jana Novotná, through her illustrious playing career, won a total of 71.73% of all her games played, winning 24 WTA and 2I TF titles and rising up the world rankings to Number 2 in the world in 1997. She will be remembered for winning Wimbledon in 1998, and two silver and one bronze medal in the Summer Olympics of 1988, and 1996 respectively.

David Cassidy was famous for many entertainment disciplines including actor, singer, songwriter and guitarist. His acting will probably be best remembered for his role as Keith Partridge in the Partridges which he played between 1970 and 1974. His music career spanned several decades and the biggest selling song in 1970 was I think I Love You by the Partridge Family with David on lead vocals; this is probably his most well-known hit. In 1973, as a solo artist, he managed to sell out Wembley Stadium 6 times over one weekend, not an easy feat. In the Eighties, he performed alongside George Michael on the hit The Last Kiss and George Michael referred to David Cassidy as one of his major influences.

On the 20th the nation celebrated with Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. The Queen married Prince Philip on 20th November 1947, when back then a Royal Wedding would have been a welcome distraction for the public, in the aftermath of the second World War. Interestingly, her Uncle, His Royal Highness The Duke of Windsor Edward, formerly King Edward VIII was not in attendance as he was not invited to the wedding. This anniversary is the Queen’s platinum anniversary, and her husband is the longest living consort in history.

On the 27th of the month we heard the happy news of the engagement of Prince Henry ‘Harry’ Wales and Rachel ‘Meghan’ Markle, their wedding date was later announced to be the same day as that of the FA Cup Final in May on the 19th next year.

Our last event of this month, starts off in years gone by. It stems from the Croat-Bosniak war, which took place between October 1992 and February 1994. However, we bring the story closer up-to-date to the 5th April 2005, when Slobodan Praljak surrendered to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in relation to the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, when he was one of 6 people to be accused by the Tribunal. On the 6th of April 2005, he appeared before the tribunal and pleaded not guilty, and chose to represent himself. Slobodan was charged with:

  • 4 counts of grave breaches of the Geneva Convention,
  • 6 counts of the violation of the laws and customs of war,
  • 5 counts of crimes against humanity.

The trial began on 26th April 2006, with the trial chamber judgement sentencing him to 20 years’ imprisonment on the 29th May 2013, however the story clearly doesn’t end there! On the 28th June 2013, Slobodan filed an appeal against the judgement. This brings the story slap-bang up-to-date. On the 29th of November this year the ICTY trial concluded the appeal hearing, whilst they overturned some parts of the original judgement, most were upheld. With the changes in the ruling, as he had served more than 2/3 of the sentence, he was probably likely to be released any time soon, However, this story has yet another twist. As the judges were delivering their judgement over him, Slobodan Praljak addressed the judges directly, stating, ‘Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal. With disdain, I reject your verdict!’ what he did next surprised everyone, taking a bottle from his person and continuing to drink from the bottle. What was in the bottle I hear you cry, well the answer is: poison. Slobodan Praljak died later that day from the drinking of said poison.

December

I found a love for me
Darling just dive right in
And follow my lead
Well I found a girl beautiful and sweet 
I never knew you were the someone waiting for me
‘Cause we were just kids when we fell in love

Ed Sheeran

December started with Cirencester’s annual Christmas Light Switch On, this year the button was pressed by BBC comedy This Country stars Daisy May and Charlie Cooper. Usually, in our review of the year we wouldn’t mention the light switch on, but this year was a little special, thanks to the Barn Theatre. During November and December, The Barn Theatre had been working with Cirencester Town Council to raise awareness of Mental Health Charities in the local community. It has been proven that singing and performing arts can help someone’s mental health. During the 2 months, 25 workshops have been held by The Barn Theatre as well as the crowd at the Advent Switch On (this includes us and the family), and the end result is a charity single, A Song for Cirencester, with the proceeds going to Cotswold Counselling and MIND. This song is available for download and streaming on the following links (don’t worry our singing voices are not audible!):

itunes
Google Play
Amazon
Spotify
YouTube (Official Music Video)

On the 5th the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that, as they have done before with the Summer Games, they will again ban the Russian Olympic Association from PyeongChang for the Winter Games, following the doping scandal involving Russian athletes a few years ago. The IOC will however permit athletes from Russia who are proven to be clean of any doping allegations to compete under a neutral flag at the Games, this was the precedent that they set at the Rio Games in 2016.

As we have come to learn through the review of the year, President Donald J Trump is no stranger to controversial decisions and this again came to fruition on the 6th as he announced that the United States of America would recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, replacing in the view of the US Tel-Aviv. His announcement looked set to potentially cause damage to the peace process in the region, and was met with condemnation from the US allies, Palestinian leaders and the Muslim World. Within minutes of the announcement, US Embassies in Turkey, Jordan, Germany and Great Britain issued security alerts, stating that Americans should exercise caution. Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future state, in fairness on this point to Donald Trump, he did not specify how much of the city should be the Capital of Israel, and hasn’t ruled out further divisions of the city in the future.

On the 14th, Rupert Murdoch announced that he was looking to do a $60billion (£45billion) deal to sell some of his assets to Disney. The deal looks to include a 39% stake in Sky, and a Hollywood studio. It is thought that after the deal has gone through, Rupert’s son James, who currently holds the Fox Chief Executive role, would move to a senior position with Disney, or move to start his own ventures. Also, included in the deal will be Fox’s deal to buy the outstanding 61% of Sky that it doesn’t own, leaving Fox with their Fox News Channel, which is their biggest profit driver, Fox Sports channel and the associated sport rights, Fox Business and its broadcast TV network of 28 channels in the US. The move will ensure a strategic legacy for the Murdoch family as the family trust is likely to receive a 5% stake in Disney who will become the biggest movie market in the world, controlling 40% of the $11billion US box office. The move should also allow the 69% purchase of Sky, as the current issues of Murdoch’s power in owning Sky News and Newspapers will be eradicated. The deal will be scrutinised by the UK and US regulatory authorities to ensure fair play, before the deal would actually go through.

The 17th arrived with sports fans looking to review the sporting year with the help of BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Throughout the show many of the sporting highlights that we have discussed were picked up on, and reviewed in the positive manner that we have done. As is customary at this event, towards the end of the show the public are asked to vote for their personality of the year from a panel selected shortlist. This year the award went to Mohammed (Mo) Farah.

The public vote went as follows:

Sir Mo Farah 83,524
Jonathan Rea 80,567
Jonnie Peacock 73,429
Anthony Joshua 73,411
Adam Peaty 63,739
Lewis Hamilton 60,627
Chris Froome 47,683
Harry Kane 18,759
Anya Shrubsole 15,237
Bianca Walkden 13,962
Johanna Konta 7,591
Elise Christie 6,504

We were surprised to see that the 4 female nominees ended the evening occupying the bottom 4 spaces. This is a disappointing statistic for us, and we hope that in next year’s event the women nominated are able to do better.

The highlight for us was seeing the family of Bradley Lowery collect the Helen Rollason Award. Bradley sadly passed away this year at the age of 6, however his plight through his illness and his relentless smile throughout shone so bright. Bradley was a huge football fan, and mascot for Sunderland AFC, and was ‘best mates’ with Jermain Defoe, not only this but he was given an honorary 41st race seat in this Grand National.

RIP Bradley Lowery.

We return to an earlier story from this month, relating to the US’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On the 19th the United Nation’s Security Council met and debated a resolution which called for the withdrawal of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. The resulting vote was a 14 to 1 defeat for Trump. Although the Egyptian put forward resolution didn’t mention the US or Trump by name, but expressed ‘deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem’. The resolution was renounced in furious language by the US Ambassador who said, ‘The United States will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy’ adding:

‘It’s scandalous to say we are putting back peace efforts,
the fact that this veto is being done in defence of American
sovereignty and in defence of America’s role in the
Middle East peace process is not a source of
embarrassment for us; it should be an embarrassment
to the remainder of the Security Council.’

The Ambassador summed up the resolution as an insult that wouldn’t be forgotten by the United States.

If we cast our minds back to the Catalan Independence debacle in October, the elections for the Regional Parliament took place on the 21st; the result did not give any party an overall majority in the Parliament, however the largest party is now the Citizens(C). This is hugely significant as this party are overtly and directly opposed to the independence of the region, however, they are some 31 seats short of a majority, so should the independence question arise again, the biggest party in the Parliament could be defeated by other parties voting in the opposite way to the Citizens. The previous party with the most seats now sits in second place in number of seats, but could look to form allegiances to get their agenda through the Catalan Parliament.

Sadly, the 14th saw the death of Bob Givens, I heard the cry of who is Bob Givens? Well although you may not know Bob himself you certainly know his creations and animations over the years. One of his most famous characters is Bugs Bunny, a character that Bob refined in the early days. He also helped to create Elmer Fudd. Other notable characters animated by Bob include, Donald Duck, Snow White, Tom & Jerry, The Looney Tunes, Daffy Duck, Popeye and Alvin and the Chipmunks; his creations will live on.

On the penultimate Friday of the year, the Official UK Christmas Number 1 was announced, and this year’s accolade went to Ed Sheeran, who had updated a hit he had earlier in the year as a duet with Beyoncé. The song is Perfect, which is a beautifully lyrical song, but we do feel however that the original version of just Ed is the better version, what do you think? Do let us know in the comments section below. There was a big campaign on social media to get Wham!’s Last Christmas to the number 1 spot for Christmas, an accolade that it had never had in its 31-year history and of course had it done it this it would have been particularly apt as Christmas Day marks a year since the death of Wham! Singer George Michael.

On Christmas Eve, the 3rd eldest member of the Von Trapp family passed away, following the death of the eldest Child, Liesl, last year. The third eldest child, Louisa, played by Heather Menzies, died at the age of 68. Of course, the film starring the Von Trapps is The Sound of Music.

The televisual highlight of the year this Christmas looked set to be another television adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Highway Rat. This adaptation will follow in the footsteps of:

  • The Gruffalo  (2009)
  • The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)
  • Room on the Broom (2012)
  • Stickman  (2015).

These stories are loved by children and parents up and down the country, and this year’s version of The Highway Rat lived up to the expectation and hype around these enchanting stories written originally by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The production company have kept as close to the original as possible. The story is about a rat bandit who craves sweet cakes, chocolates and treats demanding creatures passing by give him their treats. How close to the book is the TV adaption I hear you ask? Spoiler Alert, the TV adaptation is as close to the book as it can be, obviously the TV company have made amendments to the book in order to make it flow for television purposes, an added ‘Stand and deliver!’ here and there, but the roots of the book return. The ending of the book is illustrated differently by Axel Scheffler and the TV company, namely the lack of seeing The Highway Rat eating cake crumbs off the floor of the bakery, which obviously would have been an interesting way of the TV ending. Julia Donaldson, always seem to have some kind of message hidden behind the stories, whether she intended them to have or not, as for the message in this story, we shall let you identify. Finally, I have to say I love Axel’s homage to the most well-known of Julia’s books, The Gruffalo, with the special ‘gingerbread gruffaloes’ on sale in the bakery. We say congratulation to all involved in this TV spectacle, and are looking forward to seeing the next instalment, whether that be in 2018 or ’19.

2 days after Christmas, we saw snow again; this time it was just a dusting however, 2 weeks earlier, the snow had settled and had caused its normal chaos as schools and roads around the county closed and failed to cope with the snow that had fallen. Social media was full of videos of cars trying to get up Blunsdon Hill or the hill up to the Hot Air Balloon pub, just outside of Gloucester. Not only did the roads suffer, some electricity supplies were affected, being reconnected just a few hours later.

And Finally….

As 2017 comes to a close, we would like to:

Wish all our
Customers, friends and families
A VERY safe and Happy New Year
2018.

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